Ron Paul: America’s Phony Budget Debate

ONLY IN WASHINGTON IS MORE SPENDING CONSIDERED A “CUT” By Ron Paul || Anyone watching last week’s debate over the Republican budget resolution would have experienced déjà vu, as the debate bore a depressing similarity to those of previous years. Once again, the Republicans claimed their budget would cut spending…


By Ron Paul || Anyone watching last week’s debate over the Republican budget resolution would have experienced déjà vu, as the debate bore a depressing similarity to those of previous years. Once again, the Republicans claimed their budget would cut spending in a responsible manner, while Democratic opponents claimed the plan’s spending cuts would shred the safety net and leave vital programs unfunded. Of course, neither claim is true.

The budget does not cut spending at all, and in fact actually increases spending by $1.5 trillion over ten years. The Republicans are using the old D.C. trick of spending less than originally planned and calling that reduced spending increase a $5.1 trillion cut in spending. Only in D.C. could a budget that increases spending by 3.5 percent per year instead of by 5.2 percent per year be attacked as a “slash-and-burn” plan.

The budget also relies on “dynamic scoring.” This trick is where the budget numbers account for increased government revenue generated by economic growth the budget will supposedly unleash. The claims are dubious at best. Of course, reducing government spending will lead to economic growth. But real growth requires real cuts, not this budget’s phony cuts.

As important as reducing spending and balancing the budget is, focusing solely on budget numbers ignores the root of the problem. The real problem is that too many in Washington — and the nation as a whole — refuse to consider any serious reductions in the welfare-warfare state.

I have always maintained that the logical place to start reducing spending is the trillions wasted on our interventionist foreign policy. Unfortunately, there are still too many in Congress who claim to be fiscal hawks when it comes to welfare spending, but turn into Keynesian “doves” when it comes to spending on the military-industrial complex.

These members cling to the mistaken belief that the government can balance it budget, keep taxes low, and even have a growing economy, while spending trillions of dollars policing the world, and propping up some governments and changing others overtly or covertly. Thus, President Obama is attacked as soft on defense because he only wants to spend $5.9 trillion over ten years on the military. In contrast, the Republican budget spends $6.2 trillion over the next decade. That is almost a trillion more than the budget’s total so-called spending cuts.

If there are too many fiscal conservatives who refuse to abandon the warfare state, there are too many liberals who act as if any reduction in welfare or entitlement spending leaves children starving. I agree it is unrealistic to simply end programs that people are currently dependent on. However, isn’t it inhumane to not take steps to unwind the welfare system before government overspending causes a bigger financial crisis and drags millions more into poverty?

Far from abandoning those in need of help, returning the responsibility for caring for the needy to private charities, churches, and local communities will improve the welfare system. At the very least, young people should have the freedom to choose to pay a lower tax rate in exchange for promising to never participate in a government welfare or entitlement program.

Last week’s budget debate showed how little difference there lies between the parties when it comes to preserving the warfare-welfare state. One side may prefer more warfare while the other prefers more welfare, but neither side actually wants to significantly reduce the size and scope of government. Until Congress stops trying to run the world, run the economy, and run our lives, there will never be a real debate about cutting spending and limiting government.

ron paul

Ron Paul is a former U.S. Congressman from Texas and the leader of the pro-liberty, pro-free market movement in the United States. His weekly column – reprinted with permission – can be found here.

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Smirks April 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

I say scale back military-industrial complex spending, scale back subsidies to industries that don’t need them, end the drug war, pull our troops home from Afghanistan, close Guantanamo, reform foreign aid, close tax shelters and loopholes, normalize corporate taxes (lower the rate, but ensure that everyone pays it), and roll back a vast majority of the Bush tax cuts that were made permanent (leave the ones aiding the poor/middle class intact). Capital gains tax should not be as low as 15%.

Let that run for a while, and if necessary, tweak it via small cuts across government spending as a whole, coupled with nominal tax increases for Americans making over $250k.

Protect Social Security by increasing the payroll tax cap, at the very least to $250k but preferably higher (or remove it entirely). This alone would increase the longevity of Social Security solvency, and may even allow us to slightly increase payouts to the elderly that desperately need it.

Protect Medicare by enacting reforms that can control costs. One of those reforms would be to allow Medicare to negotiate prices for prescriptions. This alone would save us billions every year.

Neither party wants these reforms, but neither does Paul, so screw ’em all.

Wavyca April 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

but then the ponzi scheme would collapse and the 5 guys running are going to jail…how many more distractions can the FED come up with before it blows up?

TontoBubbaGoldstein April 15, 2014 at 7:17 am

Ron Paul wants more of these than most other politicians.

euwe max April 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I say scale back military-industrial complex spending,
The Russkies’ll get us!!!

idcydm April 14, 2014 at 9:32 am

Eliminate baseline budgeting. Everyone pays the same income tax rate and eliminate all deductions. Corporate taxes are a part of doing business, the price of a product or service includes those taxes and so consumer pays them.

The Cynic April 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

Ron Paul is fighting a fight that can’t be won. First, it’s impossible to even balance a Federal budget anymore, so there’s going to be some kind of default. The question is when and how.

Second, there is no real constraint on budgets and/or spending written into the Constitution. Those elected by a mostly stupid and 100% self interested electorate are amoral sociopaths that have no problem riding the gravy train until it comes off the tracks, and then everyone will get what they deserve.

Wavyca April 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Amen brother…it’s tilting heavy to the left going around a right hand turn…no engineers in sight…get ready it’s going to be a big crash!!

basno April 21, 2014 at 9:25 am

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the canidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.” Alexander Tytler, 1770
We are witnessing this happening right now.

Randall_S April 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Geez, is this guy still talking? Doesn’t anyone realize what his game is all about? He’s been pro Russia since the 1980s… when they were the USSR.

TontoBubbaGoldstein April 15, 2014 at 7:15 am


Randall_S and the New York Young Repubs have figured it out. Ron Paul is a commie.

*TBG initiates Damage Control Mode*

Easy Peasey April 15, 2014 at 8:47 am

Fortunately for TBG, “damage control” means simply telling the truth.

Pantry Pest April 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Who needs government?

Flame April 15, 2014 at 3:04 pm


Pantry Pest April 16, 2014 at 10:24 am

Only to take my money and use it to kill innocent children half a world away.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt April 15, 2014 at 6:34 am

How many of you have economics degrees? Hell, does Ron Paul even have an economics degree?

Nuthin’ but armchair Staler and Waldorfs waxing fiscal here.

idcydm April 15, 2014 at 7:41 am

It’s obvious there are no economics degrees in DC, $17.5 trillion and counting.

idcydm April 15, 2014 at 8:52 am

A hundred million dollars, Mr. President, is only a “drop
in the bucket.” I grew up at a time when on Sunday, if I had
been a good boy for the whole week, my mother gave me a penny
and said to me, “My son, don’t spend it all in one place.”

We have come a long way from then. The classic example is here
tonight, when the Senator from Colorado says a hundred million
dollars is “a drop in the bucket.”

No wonder we are nursing a $295 billion debt.

[Everett Dirksen Congressional Record, June 8, 1961, p.9896]

$295 billion sure looks good.


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